Maynard James Keenan

Memorable TV Performances: A Perfect Circle on Conan O’Brien

A Perfect Circle - Judith live on Conan O'Brien - YouTube

Back in the year 2000 (how fitting for this since Conan used to have a segment on his show about “The Year 2000”), while A Perfect Circle was supporting the release of their amazing debut album, Mer De Noms, and while on tour with Nine Inch Nails, they made a stop to perform “Judith” on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. This performance is absolutely killer. Josh Freese is a beast behind the kit and was such an integral part of this band. It’s too bad he wasn’t involved in their recent return along with Paz Lenchantin on bass and Troy Van Leeuwen on guitar. Either way, enjoy this gem!

 

A Perfect Circle- Judith on Late Night with Conan O’Brien:

 

Album Review: Tool- Fear Inoculum

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Tool’s new album is one of the most anticipated albums ever. The drama and hype surrounding this album have been astounding. Even the rumors about this album have given it all sorts of life before anyone even heard a single note. Finally, after 13 years of waiting, the long anticipated album has arrived. The big question though is, was it worth the wait? Well, in the next few minutes of you reading this, you will get my opinion on that.

I still remember hearing Tool for the first time and thinking this was really cool. The first song I ever heard was “Sober” and the video was pretty stimulating to watch. Undertow was obtained a few days later and after that I was hooked. When Aenima was released that changed everything. That album is a masterpiece straight up. Then 5 years after that, Lateralus was unleashed on the world and that left one hell of a lasting impression on everyone. 10,000 Days though, was a record though that took a long long long time to really get into but, one it finally clicked, it made sense. Especially the song “Right In Two.”

Now here we are, thirteen years removed from 10,000 Days and Fear Inoculum has finally arrived. The thing is though, was 13 years too long? Yes, yes it was. Allow me to further explain. When a band takes this long to release an album, one would expect the record to be truly masterful, evolved and takes things to another level. Each song on Fear Inoculum feels as though it was obsessed over, torn down and rebuilt to try and create a substantial song but, that amount of detail and agonizing over has provided a bloated sense that these songs are more than just a glorified wank fest.  Instead, what was released was a self indulgent piece of art that is so wrapped up in its own ego that it’s truly hard to really get to the nitty gritty of what is there. It’s not that the album isn’t good, it is, it’s just that this album is drab and feels uninspired. I’m all for long songs. I love listening to an album that really takes you on a journey. This album however, only takes me on a journey to fall asleep.

That’s not to say there aren’t moments of brilliance on this album. The odd time signatures are aplenty and the Tool sound is ever prevalent. The song everyone seems to be so jazzed about is “7empest.” That song if you were to really cut the fat out of it has the potential to be one of the most legendary Tool songs in their catalog. That song really has some defining moments for the record.  Fear Inoculum is definitely an album that, with the right amount of patience and time, one can come to really enjoy. This is not a casual listen type of album. As with every Tool album, there is a depth to it that takes time to unravel and decipher. This album not only has those elements but there also seems to be another level that they went to that isn’t quite easy to digest. Among the other gripes I have with the album is Maynard’s vocals. It’s as though his vocals were just placed in spots without the right amount of attention needed to truly highlight the singer. All the time spent working on the actual music and not having Maynard in the room really takes away from what this album could have been. Danny Carey is truly a drum champion but, even his parts on this album just like guitarist Adam Jones, tends to go on and one a bit too long and tend to drone on with no end point. That’s not to say they aren’t good at what they do, they just needed to reign it in a bit more and be more concise about the length of parts. My other issue is not having enough moments for Justin Chancellor to shine. On the previous couple albums, Justin had been at the forefront of many of the songs but, on this one he too seems to have taken a back seat and because of that, the album loses a bit of the aura it should have with Justin’s bass tone and playing. The production on the album though is stellar. Sonically it does sound good and it’s mixed very well.

As I mentioned above, it’s not that this album isn’t good, it is but, it’s just rather drab and boring. I know there are a ton of you out there that think this is the be all end all of albums in 2019 but, it’s really just hype. After 13 years, this is the best that they could do? Maynard was even quoted in a recent interview that the album could have been released 8 years ago. I will continue to go back to this album and see if my mind changes about it. I’ve listened quite a few times and even with each listen, I still find myself wanting to reach for a pillow and just drift off to sleep. One other thing, I do find it quite interesting that both the Tool and A Perfect Circle albums have been quite underwhelming. Is it possible that after all this time both bands have lost the fire that once drove them?

Overall Rating: B-

 
Tool- Fear Inoculum:

 

New Release: Tool- Fear Inoculum

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The first song officially released from Tool’s LONG AWAITED new album, Fear Inoculum, is finally here. The band has decided to release the title track from the album as the first offering. All I will say about this is it’s very much a Tool song.
Tool- Fear Inoculum:

 

Alternate Versions: A Perfect Circle- Weak and Powerless- Danny Lohner Mix

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Way back when A Perfect Circle released their covers album eMOTIVE, there was an edition that also included an additional disc entitled aMOTION. This disc was all remixed version of their songs. There has always been one that has stood out to me over the years and that is the Tilling My Grave mix of “Weak and Powerless.” This version was remixed by Danny Lohner (former Nine Inch Nails memeber and for a time was a part of A Perfect Circle during the Thirteenth Step era) and it was also featured on the soundtrack for the first Underworld movie. Anyways, this version always seemed to have more “balls” to it and that gave it a much “heavier” vibe. Another interesting note is that this version features work by Wes Borland and Josh Eustis.

 
A Perfect Circle- Weak and Powerless (Tilling My Grave: Renholder Mix):

 

 

 

A Perfect Circle- Weak and Powerless (Album Version):

 

Musicians In TV/Film: Maynard James Keenan

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Maynard James Keenan of Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer is one of the most eclectic musicians/performers around these days. In addition to his music, wine making, and books, Maynard has been known to dabble a bit in film and TV. The following are a few of the times you might have seen Maynard on screen.

 

Crank 2 High Voltage:

 

Comedy Bang Bang:

 

Mr Show:

 

Bikini Bandits:

 

 

 

Sleeping Dogs Lie (short film):

Album Review: A Perfect Circle- Eat The Elephant

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It’s been 15 years since A Perfect Circle has released an album of new original material. I don’t count their covers/remix album. That was absolutely unnecessary to even be released in the first place (but that’s for another day and debate). Enter 2018 and the release of Eat The Elephant. Despite being back in a live setting for one off shows since 2010, the groundwork for this album only started to come to fruition a couple years back. This project has always been mainly Maynard and Billy with the occasional input from other members of the band way back when (mainly Josh Freese). This new one is purely Billy and Maynard with the help of producer David Sardy (Far, Oasis and so many other bands he’s worked with). The sad part is the end result of their work.

This is not the A Perfect Circle you enjoyed when they first came out with Mer De Noms or The Thirteenth Step. What you have instead is a strange grandiose album that is at times pretentious and seems like one giant inside joke. The album’s lyrical content is very topical to the times we live in giving the album a very NOW feel. Musically though gone are the riffs and drums which are replaced with dramatic layers upon layers of keys and electronic elements. The only song on the album with that similar “classic” is “The Doomed” and even that song is very flat in terms of dynamics. That’s not to say that there aren’t moments throughout the rest of the album that have a presensce but that mainly comes from Maynard’s lyrics and delivery. Songs like “TalkTalk,” “Feathers” and “Hourglass” certainly have spots that shine. One song you might recognize a bit is “By and Down The River” which was released a few years back on a sort of best of/live album. The song has been reworked a bit but it’s still that song you heard. “Disillusioned” has a very lullaby feel. Actually the majority of the album feels like one big lullaby. The song “So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish” sounds like it could be on a Coldplay or Imagine Dragons album. I could go on and on about this album but I’m not going to.

Needless to say as a fan of the band, this is a let down. After 15 years without new music from A Perfect Circle and this being the end result is not worth it. Something else that the album lacks is the performances musically. Newer members Jeff Friedl and Matt McJunkins, while they are solid musicians they just lack the “feel” and “vibe” that made A Perfect Circle so impactful. This doesn’t feel like an A Perfect Circle album after listening to it a few times. Some of you out there might really love this new side of the band, which is perfectly fine. There are also those out there that will just eat up what ever Maynard serves and hold it as gospel. Put it this way, this album isn’t for everyone. Instead I’ll wait patiently for the new Tool album, which after almost 13 years, better not be a let down like this is.

 

Overall Rating: C-

 

A Perfect Circle- Eat The Elephant:

New Release: A Perfect Circle- The Doomed

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A Perfect Circle have released a new song “The Doomed” from their highly anticipated 2018 full-length album. It’s been 14 years since A Perfect Circle released anything new, so this is a very welcoming treat. This is a different approach for the band especially because they have new members in the band and that it’s been so long since we last heard anything new from them.

Check out the song and let me know what you think.

 

A Perfect Circle- The Doomed:

 

 

 

 

 

Ultimate Set List: A Perfect Circle

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Since the announcement that A Perfect Circle will be returning, I thought making an ultimate set list for them is very appropriate.

I’m curious to see what your ultimate/dream set list would be for A Perfect Circle.

As usual here are the rules:

Rule 1: What line up of the band would it be

Rule 2: Where would you want to see the show

Rule 3: maximum 25 songs

 

Lineup: Maynard James Keenan, Billy Howerdel, Josh Freese, Danny Lohner, Troy Van Leeuwen, and Paz Lenchantin

Venue: Fonda Theatre- Los Angeles, CA

Set List:

01) The Hollow
02) The Outsider
03) Rose
04) Orestes
05) Gravity
06) Passive
07) Sleeping Beauty
08) Weak and Powerless
09) By and Down
10) The Package
11) Judith
12) Thomas
13) Thinking of You
14) Blue
15) Pet
16) The Noose
17) 3 Libras
18) Magdalena

A Perfect Circle Is Coming Back

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I wrote a piece a while back about A Perfect Circle needing to come back. Well it seems like it is actually going to happen. During a recent stop along Maynard’s book tour in Los Angeles, A Perfect Circle guitarist was the moderator at this stop, and they both said that the band was going to get back together. Billy and Maynard both said they had been working on new music. Billy said that he has about 75% of an album completed musically. They also announced that they would be playing a show at the Hollywood Bowl, May 7, 2017.

This is very exciting news, especially since there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel for a new Tool album any time soon. I don’t know about you all, but, I sure was getting tired of all the Puscifer releases.

There is one caveat I have about them getting back together and that is coming back with the right lineup. They people that replaced Josh Freese, Troy Van Leeuwen, Danny Lohner and Paz Lenchantin, are solid musicians but, they really don’t fit in the band. Let’s hope Josh and Danny come back with this reunion.

Welcome back A Perfect Circle!

 

Mer De Noms:

 

The Thirteenth Step:

Bands That Should Return: A Perfect Circle

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If there is one band that really should come back around and release a new album it’s A Perfect Circle. It’s been over thirteen years since they released an album of new material. Maynard has kept busy over the years with Puscifer, which is interesting and another outlet for him, but the fact that there are more Puscifer albums than A Perfect Circle albums, it’s just not right. A Perfect Circle guitarist Billy Howerdel has said that “there are fully developed songs without lyrics and melody…as far as the music end goes, I’ve got 75% of the foundation of [the next] A Perfect Circle record ready to go.” And that he is just waiting on Maynard. In March of 2016 Maynard was quoted as saying “I still hope to make and release new music with the band.” Well then get on it. It’s been over ten years since there was a new Tool record, and thirteen since there was a new APC record. I get the need and want to go off and do different things, explore new musical avenues, but what I don’t get is how you can just leave a band like A Perfect Circle behind. I still remember the day that Mer De Noms came out. I was so excited and pumped to own that album and I listened to it so much I had to get another copy. Then when The Thirteenth Step came out, it elevated their game so much more, and became one of those albums that you just can’t get enough of.

Enough with the wait. It’s time to get Maynard in a room with Billy Howerdel, Josh Freese, Paz Lenchantin, Troy Van Leeuwen, and Danny Lohner and make a great new album. The world needs a new album from A Perfect Circle, it’s been too long!